Remote monitoring cost-effective for heart failure patients with implantable defibrillators

Remote management of heart failure patients with implantable defibrillators appears to be cost-effective compared to the conventional method of in-person evaluations, finds an article in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

"Heart failure patients with implantable defibrillators place a significant burden on healthcare systems," states the article. "Remote monitoring allows assessment of device function and heart failure parameters, and may represent a safe, effective, and cost-saving method compared to conventional in-office follow-up."

The article summarizes the economic evaluation of the Evolution of Management Strategies of Heart Failure Patients With Implantable Defibrillators (EVOLVO) study, a multicenter clinical trial aimed at measuring the benefits of remote monitoring for heart failure patients with implantable defibrillators. In the study, 200 patients implanted with a wireless transmission-enabled implantable defibrillator were randomized to receive either remote monitoring or the conventional method of in-person evaluations. 

These patients were followed for 16 months with a protocol of scheduled in-office and remote follow-ups. The economic evaluation of the intervention was conducted from the perspectives of the healthcare system and the patient. 

"Results from the cost-utility analysis of the EVOLVO study show that remote monitoring is a cost-effective and dominant solution," concludes the article.

Overall, remote monitoring did not show significant annual cost savings for the healthcare system, according to the article. In addition, there was a significant reduction of the annual cost for the patients in the remote arm in comparison to the standard arm, based on the results. 

In related news, Indianapolis-based St. Vincent Health partnered with its parent organization, Ascension Health Alliance, in a joint venture to officially launch a remote care management program with the goal of scaling the program on a national level. A 2010 federally-funded ARRA Beacon Community Grant study wrapped up in December 2012, successfully demonstrating that remote monitoring reduced the 30-day readmission rate for patients discharged with congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

To learn more:
- read the article